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Ilsa MexicoIlsa

I don’t care any longer about the way others react. No matter what I do, I am a person who matters.

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Ilsa is the name I have given myself. Now that I’m 18 years old I feel empowered, and my decisions are legally recognized. What I want is to feel fulfilled and productive, in order to take the next step toward becoming a transgendered woman.

I wish my family understood me better, but we became distant from each other when I told them I was gay and that I liked to dress as a woman. At that time, I didn’t want to live anymore, I didn’t take care of myself, and that included not only not wearing condoms, but also not feeding myself. I felt I was just causing problems.

I lost weight until I got sick and ended up at the hospital, where they administered an HIV test. I was 16 years old. The doctor informed my parents of the diagnosis. To them it was harder to learn that I had HIV than to learn that I was trans, although they think that one thing led to the other.

The first time I dressed as a woman I felt I was another person. My gestures no longer provoked laughter. I don’t care any longer about the way others react. No matter what I do, I am a person who matters.

I’d like to share three pictures from my collection of twelve. In the first one, which I took in the main square of Mexico City, I show myself as a transgendered woman. I express something very natural in me. I took the second photo when I was doing my make-up, and a third one with my mom and my nephew at our house in Queretaro, because I can’t separate my family from myself.

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